As you are lying in bed with a high fever and body aches from the flu just imagine that a simple change in diet could have prevented you from getting sick in the first place. This diet is called the ketogenic, or keto diet that has become very popular among many people. The keto diet is a low-carb and high fat diet that lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. The reduction of carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. During ketosis your body turns fat into energy by releasing insulin from stores in large amounts, and transfers it into the liver where is becomes oxidized and used as energy. Some foods that follow the keto diet are greens, oils, and meats. The keto diet is also known to help some people with type two diabetes, and prevent epilictic seizures. Despite all these benefits the keto diet now has another major health benefit which is fighting off the flu.
Research has been released by scientists at Yale University who fed mice a keto diet and infected them with the influenza virus and compared it to mice on a high-carb diet that were also infected with the influenza virus. The results showed that the mice fed the keto diet had a higher survival rate than the mice who were on the high-carb diet. This is most likely because the high fat diet consisting of meat and oils triggers the release of gamma delta T cells in the immune system. T cells are key players in the bodies immune response. The release of these cells increases the production of mucus in the lining of the lungs that in turn defends the body against invaders like the influenza virus. The more mucus production means the greater chance to trap the virus before it has the chance to affect you.
When the mice were bred without the gene that codes for gamma delta T cells, it was found that there was no protection against the virus. This supports the theory that it is the T cells that the keto diet activates that ultimately traps the virus. The experiment also discovered that the mice who were fed the keto diet had blocked the formation of immune response activators called inflammasomes. The inflammasomes cause harmful immune system responses in their host, so it made sense when the keto diet decreased their production.
It has been known that there is a link between dieting and immune response. For example, it is known that vitamin C can also boost immune response. Switching to a keto diet may help boost the immune system to help better fight off infection. Although mice and humans have different immune response scientists predict that humans would respond to the diet similarly to how the mice would.
Although it seems that cutting carbs out of your diet will be very difficult, the positives of a keto diet outweigh the negatives. As you are preparing for the flu season be aware of the benefits that a keto diet will bring you.